This post was originally published on 8/22/2018 and updated in the fall of 2020.
Weddings. Sigh. They’re magical.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen quite a few couples turn into stressed out project managers during their wedding days, instead of fully enjoying the wedding they’ve worked so hard to create and share with their loved ones. Even the small, intimate weddings I love to photograph can sometimes challenge my clients to soak up the love and really live in the moment.
If you are already anticipating that you’re going to need a plan for controlling stress levels or anxiety during your wedding day, let me offer a few thoughts for truly enjoying this time, and avoiding potential freakouts!
Before Your Wedding
-Checklists FTW! Stay ahead of the game by giving yourself ample time to think about and plan each of the major components of your wedding day, and then break each of those components down with details. If you aren’t hiring a wedding planner, start a document that holds critical information such as the the vendors, materials, budget, and extra support people required for your ceremony, music, transportation, catering, flowers, makeup, hair, and photography. Having a central document will ease the burden of trying to recall mental notes and will help you think through the logistics of the day. You can even share it with your vendors and support people prior to the event.
-Know yourself! If you're an introvert like me, being the center of attention and chatting with 70+ people in 1 day can be exhausting. Think through what works for your personalities and keep that in mind when making decisions. You want the day to feel fun, not obligatory.
-Communicate! You're hiring professionals to create your wedding day and they're there to help. When you have a concern that falls under catering, chat with your caterer asap to ease your worry.
-Have a backup plan. If you're holding any part of the wedding outdoors, always always have a backup plan in case it rains.
-Plan your heart out, pin pin pin then let it all go on the wedding day so you can enjoy!
-Ask for or hire help. If you think you'll need a hand packing the car, cleaning up after the rehearsal dinner or just zipping up your wedding dress then you're probably right! Don't be afraid to ask for help or hire a pro
On the Day
-Assign roles to family members or your best friends to oversee each of the major components of your wedding. Aunt Jean can welcome the catering crew and Grandpa Joe will love making sure the band is set up on time - this is especially great for those family members who arrive early. Remember, you’re supposed to enjoy this milestone and you can’t be in 5 places at once, so make this a community event and enlist your nearest and dearest to help get it all done.
-Don't get wrapped up in pre-planned moments. Maybe you want a specific photo of you and your partner kissing at the end of the aisle but you forgot to do it. Don't worry about it!
-Leave snacks, supplements, essential oils, headache meds and water in your getting ready room or to-go bag so that you can restore your blood sugar and take a breather, as needed.
-Have a loved one or professional give you a little massage. Even 5 minutes of gentle touch can significantly calm nerves and shift your perspective.
In Front of the Camera
Some of us are nervous in front of the camera in the best of times. I have total compassion for my clients who deal with the compounded stress of making sure their wedding runs smoothly in addition to being the subject of a photoshoot. I love being a support for my clients and will guide you the entire time, as needed!
Here are some basic tips for keeping the vibes calm and cool as I capture the day:
-Stay hydrated and eat something. You’ll look and feel better.
-Loosen up! Wiggle, dance, laugh, get silly. Take deep breaths, relax your shoulders, release the tension in your mouth.
-Limit distractions. I know, easier said than done! It’s OK to say no to an audience watching while you take portraits.
-And my favorite tip, ignore me! Most of my couples love a natural and candid feel to the images. Best way to make that happen? Forget I'm even there and I'll handle the rest!
Check out this post for more tips!
Choosing to Bask in the Glow
My biggest hope for my couples is that they let their guard down to enjoy the wedding while I capture it honestly. Yes, things can go wrong. But still... this is your wedding day. There is a special kind of wonderment intrinsic to weddings. The glow of the community surrounding you two. The creation of memories. Experiencing a milestone. Celebrating love in all of its forms! Don’t forget to take care of yourself so that you can bask in that magic you’ve created.